Farmers' market a Durham tradition

By Caleb Farrin
On October 1, 2013

The Durham Farmers' Market, located in the town office lot on 15 Newmarket Road, has a great atmosphere and many varieties of produce, baked goods and other handcrafted products that are appealing to the eye as well as to the taste buds. The market is held on Mondays from 2:15 to 6 p.m. from June 3 to October 7, and boasts a great variety of natural, locally grown food. There are approximately 30 vendors represented. All products are originally from Rockingham and Strafford counties, or York County in Maine. 

The event is organized by the Seacoast Growers Association (SGA), a local group that hosts farmers' markets throughout southeastern New Hampshire. The association currently holds five farmers' markets in the area; in addition to the one in Durham, there are markets in Dover, Newington, Exeter and Portsmouth. Since its inception in 1977, this nonprofit has grown from a handful of vendors to over 50 participants throughout the season. The goal of the association is to give publicity and recognition to local farmers and artisans, as well as to share great food and to create a quaint and family-friendly sales marketplace. 

There has also been an increase in the popularity of and demand for organically grown food, or foods that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or growth hormones. These foods are believed to be healthier and more nutritious than their non-organic counterparts. This demand is in concurrence with many fashionable diets and meal choices, and the organic market is growing in the public scope as well. The SGA periodically checks with their vendors to ensure that their products are quality, of local origin and organic.   

The SGA encourages any prospective vendors to contact them to join the market next year, as the 37th season approaches. It is a great way for farmers to become part of an accredited growers organization and benefits all parties involved, from the farm to the plate.  

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